“Quotes in Action” – Day 10

"Laziness means more work in the long run." ~C.S. Lewis

Perhaps the most critical aspect of an organizing system is maintenance. An organized space deteriorates rapidly if the person in the space doesn’t put items back where they belong. Today’s quote from author C.S. Lewis strikes right at the issue of what can happen when we put off doing what needs to be done. Lewis said, “Laziness means more work in the long run.”

With the organizing example, the longer someone avoids putting things away, the more complex and burdensome the task becomes. In other words, if we spend time each day walking around and putting things away, the space remains fairly well ordered. However, if we avoid that task, items become comingled, hidden, lost, and damaged, and resetting the space becomes an onerous task.

This is true for so many aspects of life. When we procrastinate, tasks that could be handled fairly easily when completed regularly pile up and become difficult. For instance:

  • We end up having to stay up all night to complete a term paper
  • We endure a few painful few days trying to find and assemble tax paperwork
  • We find ourselves needing to lose a lot of weight instead of a few pounds
  • We have serious car trouble because we failed to do routine maintenance
  • We have to spend a lot of money to get the house in shape in order to sell it

In general, people tend to underestimate the negative consequence of failing to “keep up” with routine tasks. We are keenly aware of our distaste for acting in the moment, but we have a only a vague vision of how hard we are making our lives in the future.

Today I’m asking you to consider where in your life you might be slacking off. Can you look out into the future and see a time when this behavior might become a burden? What one discipline will you undertake in order to make your life easier this year?

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20 thoughts on ““Quotes in Action” – Day 10”

  1. Loving this thought provoking series…I have begun making a list and coming back to answer them during my week…excellent blogs!

  2. Seana, this is something I talk about endlessly with my clients. Maintenance is the key to staying organized. I love the way you illustrate how maintenance affects other aspects of life. One thing I want to get back to is tennis. I used to play lots of tennis and was a pretty good player. I played on 2 teams and just loved the competition! Once I get settled, I plan to take lessons and participate in a clinic to bring my skills back. I wish I had been playing a little bit all along but I just stopped playing. I know it will be a bear to bring my game back.
    Diane N Quintana recently posted…Time Spent with FamilyMy Profile

    1. Perhaps it will be easier than you, Diane. In physical pursuits, muscle memory clicks back in, right? Definitely worth giving it a try, especially because you enjoy it. That’s what matters most.

  3. I have to admit here that while I agree with the idea that there are consequences to procrastinating, I have a hard time with the word, “laziness.” Many clients I work with struggle with the organizing piece in their lives and experience chronic disorganization. Not getting to tasks often has nothing to do with laziness. There are many factors like health issues (physical or mental,) brain differences (ADHD, OCD,) or never learning organizational skills.

    In fact, they are sensitive to the idea of being called “lazy.” They are not at all. They work really hard to get organized and complete, but get frustrated because they haven’t found ways of working and systems that fit them. Some of the work is around reframing and the other aspect is about tapping into their strengths to help them find their way forward.

    1. Completely agree, Linda. This isn’t meant to make someone who is struggling to feel worse. We all need systems that work for us to help us do what we want to do. I appreciate your sharing this perspective!

  4. Oh, that is good! This is the time of year we definitely see the gaps or the falling behind. It aligns fairly perfectly this year because my third trimester is starting in the next week or so and that’s generally when I experience not gestational diabetes, but some glucose intolerance that I don’t have when not pregnant. So I have no choice but to start doing low carb right now. It’s not quite what you mean, but I just mean that without the pregnancy, what would jumpstart me to start eating better after the holiday cookie sludge? I’d like to think I would be making those changes.
    Tamara recently posted…Frozen Hot Chocolate RecipeMy Profile

    1. So interesting, Tamara. You are choosing to see what could be perceived as a negative as a positive for your body. That’s really powerful. Making progress isn’t always something we have to simply ‘muscle through alone.’ A bit of external accountability or stimulus can be just what we need to help us get up and get going.

      Blessings on your third trimester!!

    1. Well, I feel honored that you chose to procrastinate with me. 🙂

      Way to go on writing for AARP. Your content is so perfect for that organization. Good luck!

    1. If you put it away every day or every week, it never becomes that overwhelming monster, right Sabrina? It’s astounding how quickly clutter piles up. Sort of like how funny it was to see how quickly we human beings can start looking a big rumpled if we aren’t being required to leave the house and interact in society- what a lesson from COVID that was!

  5. I have a big mug that says, “Organized people are just too lazy to look for things.” It’s funny, but it’s true. People who are “lazy” procrastinate and end up having to rush, to do more, to do it over again. But those of us who organized have consciously decided, up front, based on this concept, that we are “lazy” in a different way. By doing everything at a slow and steady pace, rather than procrastinating, we avoid so much extra labor. People used to laugh when I’d start my term papers the first week of the semester, but by chipping away in tiny, incremental amounts from the beginning, it’s almost like the work wrote itself. So many things in our lives are just like that — if we keep up, bit by bit, it barely seems like work. But if we wait (and wait, and wait), we exhaust so much taunting mental energy before we take the first step. Not me. I’d rather be “lazy.”
    Julie Bestry recently posted…Ask Paper Doll: Should I Organize My Space and Time with Color?My Profile

    1. I love this quote! Julie, I’m just like you. I used to start my papers and projects right away, and even my PARENTS laughed at me! My daughter and I joke that we are “pre-crastinators.” We get that jolt of motivation right up front, instead of the night before the project is due.

      Little by little, to me, is so much easier than an overwhelming amount of work (on anything) all at once!

  6. This quote explains my oldest son. He is a true procrastinator and he pays the price for it. He procrastinates around money. When he was in college he always paid his tuition late which meant a rush to go to the registration office and pay a late fee.
    He isn’t lazy, just a procrastinator about certain things.

    1. Yes, this word “lazy” is getting some reaction. As I said to Linda, I guess it sort of an old-fashioned word for procrastination. Some people truly struggle to get things done. This quote is more about those who just let themselves off the hook a bit too long, and then it ends up being a problem; such as a late fee!

    1. The word “laziness” has gotten a lot of comment, Jill. I think it is sort of an old-fashioned word these days. Procrastination, or simply avoidance, is a more modern way of thinking.

      I also try to lean into the pain, that’s a great phrase. It’s always easier to find fault with ourselves, but there is also grace and mercy for those struggles. It sure is a great feeling when we find, and then correct, a behavior that has been hurting us, right?

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